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Pollen And Phytolith Analyses Of Ancient Paddy Fields At Chuodun Site, The Yangtze River Delta

Chunhai Li, Gangya Zhang, L. Yang, Xiangui Lin, Hu Zhengyi, Yuan-hua Dong, Z. Cao, Y. Zheng, Jinlong Ding
Published 2007 · Geography

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A number of paddy fields pertaining to the Majiabang Cultures (5500-3800 years BC) were discovered during the archaeological excavations that were carried out since 1998 at the Chuodun site in the Yangtze River Delta. The pollen and phytolith analyses of two soil profiles from the northeastern part of this site were carried out to trace the agricultural practices of the Neolithic period. The phytolith results showed that rice domestication in the Yangtze River Delta could be traced back to as early as the Majiabang Culture. The pollen assemblage also revealed low levels of aquatic species, similar to that in modern paddy fields. This finding suggested that humans might have removed weeds for rice cultivation during the Neolithic period. Thus, pollen analysis in association with phytolith analysis was a promising method for identifying ancient paddy fields.
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